STORES Magazine - September 2017 - 39
when they visit the store and then do a
simple search on their phone to get the
coupon to pop up as an incentive to make
Discounts offered by Shoe Carnival
vary, but typically range between $5 and
$20 off on a purchase with a minimum
amount. Zimmerman says Shoe Carnival
had to do little on the technical side
to implement the program, as Thrive
managed most of those components.
"We looked at different options and
chose Thrive because we already had a
relationship with them and their solution
was lightweight to implement," he says.
Shoe Carnival used different codes on
mobile wallet coupons versus electronic
coupons customers got at the company's
website to track which were being
redeemed. "It was more work for us
to develop the program this way, but it
was important to us for measuring the
results," Zimmerman says.
The mobile application is an extension
of an electronic coupon program Shoe
Carnival has had with Thrive for over
a year. The earlier effort included the
development of proprietary "saving
centers" at the Shoe Carnival website
where customers can look for both online
and in-store coupons.
"These savings centers helped us improve
our search results," Zimmerman says.
While outside parties also offer Shoe
Carnival coupons, Thrive worked with
Shoe Carnival so that when customers
do a web search for its coupons, the
proprietary site is pushed ahead of
"When customers Google for Shoe
Carnival coupons, we want our results first,
not our affiliates," Zimmerman says.
Shoe Carnival is already looking at
expanding the mobile wallet program.
Possibilities include tying the efforts to
promotions on social media, such as
Facebook and Twitter.
While many retailers work with Thrive
to develop electronic coupons that can be
accessed at their websites, few retailers
are sending digital coupons via email,
according to Thrive CEO Scott Bohrer.
The Shoe Carnival test should be evidence
to other retailers that digital coupons are
effective at getting customers to make
purchases in bricks-and-mortar outlets.
"This shows you can drive people from
their phones to the stores where they spend
more," Bohrer says.
It also shows that customers will use
their digital wallets if they are given an
incentive; while critics have complained
that digital wallets such as Apple Pay have
been slow to take off, Bohrer says this
program shows hope.
"This is why digital wallets have not
taken off before - customers did not have
a good reason to use them. Retailers have
not used the wallets properly up until now,"
he says. "But this shows that customers will
use their wallets if you give them a better
reason than just payment. And what better
incentive is there than to get a discount?"
While few retailers are implementing
programs similar to that of Shoe Carnival,
Bohrer says there is a lot of interest.
"They are looking for tools to drive
traffic to their stores," he says. "A lot of
stores are suffering now and this is the
perfect tool to get customers into the stores.
In addition to a button to download the
coupon, retailers can also provide a direct
link to a store locator so that customers can
see the nearest place to use the coupon.
Bohrer says the coupon should appeal to
any retailer with bricks-and-mortar stores
that can also send electronic coupons.
"There is no one type of retailer that
this appeals to. Anyone that does digital
marketing and has physical stores should
benefit," he says.
Size is also not a factor. "We work with
some large national chains as well as one
small retailer with a single location," he
says. Even online retailers can benefit by
having customers use their coupon to make
Thrive's next goal is sending digital
coupons through text messages as well as
emails. "That is something we have not
done yet, but plan to offer," Bohrer says.
Zimmerman expects the success of the
program to get even greater as more people
use mobile wallets to pay for goods and
redeem other discounts.
"Mobile payment is still in its infancy,"
he says. "As consumers become more
tech savvy and the use of mobile wallets
becomes more prevalent, we expect to
see even more customers redeeming our
coupons in our stores."
Lauri Giesen is a Libertyville, Ill.-based business
writer with extensive experience in covering
payment and finance issues.
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